1 Dec 2010

Exporter anticipates boost to apple trade

1:58 pm on 1 December 2010

New Zealand's biggest apple grower and exporter says gaining access to the Australian market will be a boost for the industry after a tough trading season.

ENZA, which is part of the Turners & Growers Group, sells apples in more than 60 countries.

General manager Snow Hardy expects to have New Zealand apples on Australian supermarket shelves by 2012, as a result of the World Trade Organisation's ruling that stringent quarantine restrictions proposed by Australia don't comply with international trade rules.

The WTO decision means Australia will have to review its import risk analysis for New Zealand apples and negotiate a new set of conditions.

But an Australian apple growers' representative has made it clear, the battle's not over yet.

John Corboy, who chairs the Fireblight Task Force there, remains convinced that the bacterial plant disease that that led to the ban on New Zealand apples almost 90 years ago, is still a threat to the Australian industry.

He says gaps in the Australian case to the WTO that need to be addressed, including the risk of infection closer than four months to harvest.

Mr Corboy maintains chlorine baths for fruit and orchard inspections, two of the conditions New Zealand objected to, are common practice and shouldn't be an issue.